We’ve been hard on the federal government for the disconnect between its need to get out $4 billion in broadband stimulus money to areas without broadband and its simultaneous need to map the areas where folks don’t have broadband in order to determine the best way to allocate those funds. We’ve also reported on the doubts associated with one of the largest mapping beneficiaries, Connected Nation.
Well, in the “any enemy of my enemy is my friend” category, it turns out that the cable companies are just as concerned as activists are about Connected Nation’s close ties to the incumbent telecommunications providers. On Aug. 19, the Kentucky Cable Telecommunications Association decided not to endorse Connected Nation as the broadband mapping provider of choice for that state. Members, including Comcast, voted 8-2 not to sign a letter of endorsement circulated by Connected Nation as part of its bid to get a mapping contract.
Phillip Brown, the national policy director of Connected Nation, said to me this afternoon that the group’s relationship with the service provider community has been technology-neutral, which Brown says is “necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband.” He added that “cable providers have been an important part of the success we’ve enjoyed in Kentucky.”
Meanwhile, the group last month won a contract to map broadband access in my own state of Texas, which is home to one of its biggest supporters, AT&T. It’s also won contracts in Ohio, Tennessee, Nevada, Minnesota and Iowa, and Brown says several more are expected.